YA authors share all sides of issue in Dear Bully

Dear Bully edited by Carrie Jones and Megan Kelley Hall; published by Harper Teen, 2011; 384 pages.

In this anthology, 70 authors share their stories of bullying, whether from the perspective of the perpetrator, victim, or silent bystander.  Authors range from R. L. Stine, Jon Scieszka and Mo Willems to Michelle Zink, Lauren Oliver, Ellen Hopkins and Cynthia Leitich Smith.  All tales are brief (about two pages) and heartfelt; some lay painfully naked on the page.  In the end, all angles of the subject have been explored.

So many of the tales made me want to cry.  Even the remorse expressed by authors who did the bullying was moving.  Sometimes an author offers concrete advice (like R. L. Stine’s use of humor) and sometimes the author just lets victims know that it does get better.  Sometimes an author who thought they were never bullied reflected on a pattern of verbal abuse (read about the ramifications of sexting) and now realize they’d been victimized.  Some authors were bullies and regret is desperately, as do many who were silent witnesses to bullying.

The main lesson I took from reading the book is that bullying affects everyone and it’s often overlooked or excused.  With so many schools addressing bullying head on, with zero tolerance policies, this is a must-have book for libraries (public and school).  Guidance counselors would be well advised to keep a copy in their offices.  Teens will surely flip to the accounts of their favorite authors and will hopefully read on.

5P     4Q     Grade Level: 8+

Cover Art: We all know teens are attracted to covers with faces.  This one is compelling because of the face with the overlay of contributors names: intimating that we all have to take responsibility for this pandemic.

From Reading List: Too Good to Be True Nonfiction

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